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Publication numberUS5537024 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 08/204,398
PCT numberPCT/DE1992/000642
Publication dateJul 16, 1996
Filing dateJul 30, 1992
Priority dateSep 20, 1991
Fee statusLapsed
Also published asDE4131417C1, DE59203699D1, EP0604444A1, EP0604444B1, WO1993006492A1
Publication number08204398, 204398, PCT/1992/642, PCT/DE/1992/000642, PCT/DE/1992/00642, PCT/DE/92/000642, PCT/DE/92/00642, PCT/DE1992/000642, PCT/DE1992/00642, PCT/DE1992000642, PCT/DE199200642, PCT/DE92/000642, PCT/DE92/00642, PCT/DE92000642, PCT/DE9200642, US 5537024 A, US 5537024A, US-A-5537024, US5537024 A, US5537024A
InventorsGerhard Lang
Original AssigneeBraun Aktiengesellschaft
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Circuit arrangement to detect a voltage
US 5537024 A
Abstract
In a circuit arrangement to detect a voltage (U), the voltage is applied to the input of a voltage detector (VD) through a voltage divider (R1, R4), the voltage detector (VD) comprising a Schmitt-Trigger with reference voltage and an output driver. The output signal of the voltage detector (VD) is applied to the base of a transistor (T1) whose collector-emitter circuit, together with a series-connected capacitor (Cl), is connected in parallel with the voltage (U) to be detected. The junction of the capacitor (C1) and the transistor (T1) is connected to the input of the voltage detector (VD) through a resistor (R5, R6). The output of the voltage detector (VD) is further applied to the input of a component (C) delivering different output signals in dependence upon whether its input receives a constant signal level or a varying signal level.
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Claims(10)
I claim:
1. A circuit arrangement to detect a voltage (U), comprising a transistor having a base and a collector-emitter circuit, a capacitor connected in series with said collector-emitter circuit, a voltage detector that has an input and an output, circuitry connecting said voltage detector output to the positive potential of said voltage (U), a first voltage divider having a divider node, circuitry connecting said voltage detector input to said divider node, circuitry for applying the output of said voltage detector to said base of said transistor, circuitry connecting said collector-emitter circuit and said capacitor in parallel with said voltage (U) to be detected, a first resistance connecting the junction of said capacitor and said transistor to said input of said voltage detector, and output circuitry connected to said output of said voltage detector for delivering different output signals in dependence upon whether said voltage detector input receives a constant signal level or a varying signal level.
2. The circuit arrangement of claim 1 wherein said output circuitry includes a display device (D) responsive to said voltage detector output such as to indicate whether the detected voltage (U) has reached a specified voltage or lies above or below the specified voltage value.
3. A circuit arrangement of claim 1 wherein part of said first resistance is adjustable.
4. The circuit arrangement of claim 1 wherein a portion of said first voltage divider includes a second voltage divider that has a divider node and further including circuitry connecting a reference potential to said first voltage divider, an integrating capacitor connected in parallel with said second voltage divider, and a component connected to said divider node of said voltage divider for delivering a square-wave voltage to said output circuitry.
5. The circuit arrangement of claim 4 wherein said component is part of a microprocessor.
6. The circuit arrangement of claim 1 or claim 4 wherein said output circuitry includes a microprocessor (C).
7. The circuit arrangement of claim 4 and further including a second resistor connected between said second voltage divider and said input of said voltage detector.
8. The circuit arrangement of claim 8 wherein the pulse duty factor of said square-wave voltage is variable.
9. The circuit arrangement of claim 8 wherein different values of the voltage (U) are specified by means of varying pulse duty factors of said square-wave voltage, and further including a display device (D) for providing an indication when a particular voltage value is reached.
10. The circuit arrangement of claim 8 wherein said voltage (U) to be detected is the voltage of a battery (B), different values of said battery voltage are specified by means of varying pulse duty factors of said square-wave voltage, and further including comparing said battery voltage values to a known charging/discharging characteristic of said battery, and adjusting a time-controlled charge-status indication when a deviation from said charging/discharging characteristic is established.
Description

This invention relates to a circuit arrangement to detect a voltage, including a voltage divider having applied to its divider node the input of a voltage detector which comprises a Schmitt-Trigger with reference voltage and an output driver, with the output of the voltage detector being connected to the positive potential of the voltage.

Voltage detectors comprising internally a Schmitt-Trigger with reference voltage and an output driver are commercially available devices. FIG. 4 illustrates the wiring of such a voltage detector VD when a specified voltage, for example, the voltage of two serially connected battery cells or accumulator cells (B), is to be detected which is greater than the internal reference voltage of the voltage detector VD. In this event, a voltage divider comprised of resistors R1 and R4 is connected in parallel with the battery B, and the junction of the two resistors R1 and R4 is connected to the IN input of the voltage detector VD. The OUT output of the voltage detector VD is applied to the positive potential of the battery B through a resistor R2. The voltage divider R1/R4 is so dimensioned that the internal reference voltage (2.1 volts, for example) will be present at the IN input of the voltage detector VD when the voltage to be detected (2.3 volts, for example) is present at the battery B. When the battery voltage drops below-this value, the output of the voltage comparator VD will go from "high" to "low".

However, such commercially available voltage detectors have the disadvantage of having a hysteresis of, for example, 0.1 volts. This means that with the battery voltage falling the output of the voltage detector VD will go from "high" to "low" when the voltage at the input reaches 2.1 volts (correspondingly 2.3 volts at the battery), however, with the battery voltage rising (for example, when the battery is being recharged), the output of the voltage detector VD will not reverse its state until the voltage at the input reaches 2.2 volts (2.1 volts+0.1 volts). This is not satisfactory for some applications requiring an accurate voltage detection as, for example, when it is desired to detect a specified voltage accurately on a battery during both discharging and charging of the battery.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to configure a circuit arrangement of the type initially referred to in such a manner as to permit a hysteresis-free detection of a specified voltage.

According to the present invention, this object is accomplished in that the output signal of the voltage detector is applied to the base of a first transistor, that the collector-emitter circuit, together with a series-connected capacitor, is connected in parallel with the voltage to be detected, that the junction of the capacitor and the first transistor is connected to the input of the voltage detector through a first resistor, and that the output of the voltage detector is further applied to the input of a component delivering different output signals in dependence upon whether its input receives a constant signal level or a varying signal level.

When it is desired to detect several specified voltages using the same voltage detector or to be able to vary the value of the voltage to be detected, the resistor of the first voltage divider connected to reference potential is comprised of a second voltage divider to which an integrating capacitor is connected in parallel and whose divider node receives a square-wave voltage whose pulse duty factor is variable.

Further advantageous embodiments of the present invention will become apparent from the other subclaims and the subsequent description.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described in more detail in the following with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing a circuit arrangement for detecting a specified voltage value on a battery;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are schematic diagrams showing circuit arrangements for detecting several voltage values using a single voltage detector; and FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of a commercially available voltage detector.

Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, there is shown a circuit arrangement providing a suitable indication when the voltage U of the battery B has reached a specified value. A load resistor RL may be connected to this battery (accumulator) through a switch S. This load resistor may be the motor of a small electrical appliance as, for example, an electric shaver. The battery is rechargeable by means of a charging circuitry not shown.

Connected in parallel with the battery B is a voltage divider comprised of resistors R1 and R4, by means of which the voltage U of the battery B is divided down to the voltage Ue residing at the junction of the resistors R1 and R4 which is applied to the IN input of the voltage detector VD. The OUT output of the voltage detector VD is connected to the positive terminal of the battery B through a resistor R2, to the base of a transistor T1 through a resistor R3, and to the microprocessor C driving a display device D through a resistor R10.

The emitter of transistor T1 is connected to the positive terminal of the battery B, its collector being connected to reference potential through a capacitor C1. In addition, the collector is connected to the junction of the resistors R1 and R4 of the voltage divider through resistors R5 and R6. The resistor R6 is of the variable type for adjustment.

The voltage divider R1/R4 is dimensioned such as to ensure that, when the battery B reaches a specified voltage U, the divided-down voltage Ue at the IN input of the voltage detector VD lies below the detection voltage of the voltage detector VD. This specified voltage U may be, for example, the "low charge" point at 2.3 volts (in which event the battery is discharged to 10% to 20% of its capacity). When the detection voltage of the voltage detector is, for example, 2.1 volts and the tolerance is 0.1 volts (which has no relation to the hysteresis of the voltage detector), these are 2.0 volts.

The mode of function of the circuit arrangement is as follows: When the battery voltage U has dropped to the voltage to be detected which is, for example, 2.3 volts, the voltage Ue at the IN input of the voltage detector VD will be 2.0 volts, and the OUT output of the voltage detector VD will change from "high" to "low". "Low" is the active state of the voltage detector VD. Transistor T1 will then conduct, causing the series arrangement comprised of the resistors R5, R6 to be connected in parallel with resistor R1. The input voltage Ue (divider voltage) is thereby increased to a value greater than the detection voltage of the voltage detector plus the hysteresis voltage, causing the voltage detector to assume the reverse state again (release voltage) and the OUT output to return to "high". The transistor T1 is again non-conducting, cancelling the parallel connection of resistors R5, R6 to resistor R1, whereby the divider voltage Ue is again below the detection voltage of the voltage detector VD, and the OUT output is again changed to "low".

The circuitry oscillates. The capacitor C1 provides time delays for the transition operations, thus reducing the oscillation frequency to about 1 kHz, for example. A square-wave voltage with an amplitude of the order of the battery voltage U is present at the OUT output.

Oscillation will cease to be possible when the release voltage of the voltage detector is no longer attained with the transistor T1 conducting. At this instant, the state of the voltage detector VD will be maintained, its output voltage being constantly at "low". This voltage point is adjusted by means of resistor R6.

Thus, it is possible to detect a specified value of the supply voltage solely by the presence of a constant signal level at the output of the voltage detector VD with respect to a varying (oscillating) voltage level. The specified voltage value is detected without hysteresis, that is, it is irrelevant whether the specified voltage value is reached starting from higher or from lower voltage values, since it is not the internal reference voltage of the voltage detector (2.1 volts) that is used for adjustment, but rather its release voltage.

The circuit arrangements of FIGS. 2 and 3 present an extension of FIG. 1 to cover the detection of several voltages using just a single voltage detector VD. In these Figures, the resistor R4 of FIG. 1 is subdivided into serially connected resistors R7, R8 and R9, whereof resistor R7 is connected to the input of the voltage detector VD, while resistor R9 is tied to reference potential. An integrating capacitor C2 is connected in parallel with the series arrangement comprised of resistors R8 and R9.

In FIG. 2, an output of the microprocessor C is connected to the junction of resistors R8 and R9. The microprocessor supplies to this junction a square-wave control signal whose pulse duty factor is variable.

Owing to this variable pulse duty factor, in combination with the resistors R7, R8, R9 and the integrating capacitor C2, the release voltage point of the voltage detector VD can be shifted over a wide range of the voltage U of the battery B. The greater the pulse duty factor of the square-wave voltage supplied, that is, the greater the pulse/no-pulse ratio, the higher the mean value of the voltage supplied. Correspondingly, the voltage at the junction of capacitor C2 and resistor R8, and consequently also the voltage Ue at the input of the voltage detector VD, are raised, whereby the release voltage of the voltage detector is reached at higher battery voltages U.

As described with reference to FIG. 1, it is thus possible to determine and detect any desired number of voltage points of the battery voltage U by varying the pulse duty factor of the square-wave voltage supplied. By sensing a voltage point and subsequently specifying a next voltage point by correspondingly varying the pulse duty factor of the square-wave voltage supplied, the voltage characteristic of a battery during charging and/or discharging can be retraced in dependence on time.

By allocating specified voltage points of a discharging or charging characteristic of the battery (for example, between 2.5 volts and 2.2 volts at 50 mV intervals) to a visual signal of the display device D, the current charging condition of the battery is displayed. Where a display device D comprising several segments is employed, the segments are controlled by the microprocessor C such that in the fully charged condition (highest detected voltage), all segments are driven, whilst with the battery charge near depletion (lowest detected voltage), no segment is driven.

Where the display device D provides a continuous indication of the charging condition on a time basis, that is, in dependence on the period of time during which the load resistor RL (load) was connected to the battery or the battery was charged, the voltage points detected in operation will be compared to the values of the battery charging and discharging characteristic stored in the microprocessor, and if a deviation is established, the display will be corrected correspondingly.

FIG. 3 shows a circuit arrangement suitable for the event that the voltage divider is not sufficiently high-resistance, that is, the output of the microprocessor C supplying the square-wave voltage is not in a position to provide the requisite power. In this case, the square-wave signal of the microprocessor C will be delivered through a resistor R11 to the base of a transistor T2 whose collector-emitter circuit is in parallel with the resistor R9. In accordance with the pulse duty factor of the square-wave signal supplied, the transistor T2 is rendered either conducting or non-conducting. In all other respects, the mode of function of the circuit arrangement is the same as that of FIG. 2.

All circuit arrangements described in the foregoing are self-oscillating, requiring no control voltages from an external source. In consequence of the low current requirements, the circuit arrangements may remain connected to the supply voltage U also with the appliance turned off (load resistor RL disconnected from the battery), without the battery discharging unacceptably.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3670246 *Mar 16, 1970Jun 13, 1972Forbro Design CorpUnder-voltage monitoring device having time delay means for regulated power supplies
US4429236 *Jul 30, 1981Jan 31, 1984Robert Bosch GmbhApparatus for generating pulses upon decreases in supply voltage
US4445090 *Aug 26, 1981Apr 24, 1984Towmotor CorporationVoltage level monitoring and indicating apparatus
US4758772 *Jun 19, 1987Jul 19, 1988Braun AktiengesellschaftDischarge indicating means for a storage battery
US4829290 *Jan 4, 1988May 9, 1989Motorola, Inc.Low voltage alert circuit
US4906055 *Jul 12, 1989Mar 6, 1990Sharp Kabushiki KaishaVoltage level judging device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6081436 *Aug 12, 1998Jun 27, 2000Lucent Technologies, Inc.Multi-output power supply voltage sensing
US6483275Apr 23, 1999Nov 19, 2002The Board Of Trustees Of The Univesity Of IllinoisConsumer battery having a built-in indicator
US6545510Dec 10, 2001Apr 8, 2003Micron Technology, Inc.Input buffer and method for voltage level detection
US6781442 *Sep 7, 2001Aug 24, 2004Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki KaishaSelf-bias adjustment circuit
US20130057409 *Sep 5, 2012Mar 7, 2013Fluke CorporationWatchdog For Voltage Detector Display
WO2000065683A2 *Apr 20, 2000Nov 2, 2000Procter & GambleConsumer battery having a built-in indicator
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/636.15, 340/661, 320/DIG.21, 324/433
International ClassificationG01R31/36, G01R19/165
Cooperative ClassificationG01R15/04, Y10S320/21, G01R31/3648, G01R19/16542
European ClassificationG01R19/165G2B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 14, 2004FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20040716
Jul 16, 2004LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Feb 4, 2004REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Aug 17, 2000ASAssignment
Owner name: BRAUN GMBH, GERMANY
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:BRAUN AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT;REEL/FRAME:011035/0269
Effective date: 19991213
Owner name: BRAUN GMBH FRANKFURTER STRASSE 145 D-61476 KRONBER
Owner name: BRAUN GMBH FRANKFURTER STRASSE 145 D-61476 KRONBER
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:BRAUN AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT;REEL/FRAME:011035/0269
Effective date: 19991213
Dec 9, 1999FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Dec 16, 1997CCCertificate of correction
Mar 15, 1994ASAssignment
Owner name: BRAUN AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT, GERMANY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LANG, GERHARD;REEL/FRAME:007068/0181
Effective date: 19940217